This one goes out to all the New England schoolteachers in my life who’ll be soaking up a little thing called April vacation next week. Because, after all, what’s better than a dose of addictive television viewing to fill up your precious time off from shaping minds? Personally, there’s nothing I love more on a vacation than cradling a good Russian novel in my lap and neglecting it in favor of an awesomely bad TV marathon. Strike that; what’s even better is neglecting a Russian novel in favor of a TV marathon that’s actually good. So, in the event that “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” is not hosting a marathon over the coming days, here are some TV shows that can feasibly (in an obsessive way) be watched over a week’s worth of vacation…
- Prison Break (2005-09) – If you want to be consumed beyond belief and stay up all night for an entire week watching the most addictive TV show ever, look no further. This series about a structural engineer who’s dead-set on breaking his innocent brother out of prison serves up a hearty dose of cliffhangers and intrigue. The dialogue is laughable at times, but even the screenwriter in me forgets to care because of the expert way this show delivers gritty suspense.
- My So-Called Life (1994-95) – If there’s anything farther from the rough-and-tumble world of prison, “My So-Called Life” is it. This Winnie Holzman drama focuses on a teenage girl dealing with the seemingly simple world of her Pennsylvania high school – the crushes, the grades, the pressure, the parental weirdness and all. It is short-lived (with just 19 episodes), but these brief snippets of Angela Chase (Claire Danes)’s life will have you enthralled in every second.
- Twin Peaks (1990-91) – This gem of the early ’90s is quirky, suspenseful and – best of all – only 16 (worthwhile) episodes long. This soapy crime drama really is a must-watch for anyone who calls him or herself a TV lover, so check out my full post on Twin Peaks for more in-depth analysis of the quirky fabulousness of this show.
- Parks and Recreation (2009-present) – Ever wonder about the inner workings of a small-town Indiana parks department? Yeah, neither did I, and that’s what kept me from getting into this show for quite a while. But, this modest sitcom is brimming with vivid characters, optimism and hilarity at every turn. What makes this show so great for a TV marathon is that it started mid-season, which means only 42 episodes stand between you and getting caught up with Lesley Knope’s laughter caravan.
- Veronica Mars (2004-07) – This show is “Nancy Drew” meets “90210,” meets witty dialogue and chemistry you haven’t seen since “The Maltese Falcon.” As such, the show will make you feel like you’re watching an adolescent version of Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall face the issues of today’s youth. The first two seasons combine criminal intrigue with the brutal world of high school, while centering on a young woman who works at her father’s private-detective firm. I say skip the third season, however, because at that point the show loses its intensity and flair.
Psst: If you’ve seen all of these, some go-to TV shows for me always include the first two seasons of “LOST,” “Alias,” and seasons one, two and four of “Dexter.”